But hey, let’s not politicize a storm or anything.
It was not a good year for people, weather and climate. The winter was strangely warm in many places and the summer ridiculously hot. As a large fraction of the country suffered through extreme or even extraordinary drought many folks naturally wondered, “Is this climate change?” Then along came a presidential election in which the words “climate change” disappeared from the dialogue. Now, just a week or so before voting day, the convergence of westbound Hurricane Sandy with a eastbound cold front is creating a massive storm, a Frankenstorm even, that is threatening millions of Americans. Weird weather is making yet another appearance in our lives and once again we ask, “Is this climate change?”
The hyper-charged political landscape we are crossing now creates its own sparks when trying to answer that question. In a world looking for “wake-up calls” and “smoking guns,” how do scientists address the thorny issue of attribution? Did anthropogenic climate change cause the storm that rained out your picnic yesterday? Is it causing the terrifying storm crawling up the East Coast now? There are deep, powerful and potent issues here that touch on both science and the relationship between science and politics.
Let’s start with the science.
And it’s settled, of course. You’ll never guess who helpfully linked this story.